Open Science is an umbrella term for a number of initiatives that aim at making science more accessible. It is currently one of the most important trends in the global science system. It aims in particular to increase the impact, transparency and reproducibility of scientific research, and to do so in a sustainable way. Open Access (free access to scientific publications) and Open Research Data (free access to research data) are key parts of Open Science.
In January 2020, SERI, swissuniversities, the SNSF and the two Federal Institutes of Technology signed the Agreement on the Development of a National Open Research Data Strategy (ORD Strategy). The ORD Strategy and a corresponding Action Plan containing implementation measures were developed over the next two years under the leadership of the swissuniversities Open Science Delegation and with the collaboration of the SNSF, the ETH Domain and science academies. Other stakeholders were involved in the project through consultations and workshops. The Action Plan covers the period from 2022 to 2028. It defines Action Areas and concrete measures to create the best conditions for processing, storing, accessing and reusing research data.
Since the jointly created ORD Strategy and Action Plan are examples of nationwide higher education policy coordination as described in the Higher Education Act (HEdA), the project was also reviewed by the Swiss Conference of Higher Education Institutions (SHK). The SHK approved the ORD Strategy in November 2021 and the Action Plan in March 2022. They complement the strategy and action plan that were developed for Open Access in 2017 and that are currently in the implementation phase, and make it possible for Switzerland to pursue a coherent and ambitious Open Science policy that is in line with European and global developments.
The ORD Strategy and its Action Plan define the following Action Areas:
- Action Area A: Supporting researchers and research communities in the definition and implementation of ORD practices
- Action Area B: Developing, promoting and maintaining financially sustainable basic infrastructure and services for all researchers
- Action Area C: Developing skills and exchanging best practices for researchers
- Action Area D: Setting up systems and supportive frameworks for institutions and research communities
In March 2022, the SHK also approved the Open Science – Open Research Data cooperation project led by swissuniversities, which includes all universities. The over CHF 32 million that were made available for this project will be used to co-finance swissuniversities' contributions towards the implementation of the Action Plan from 2022 to 2024. For the period from 2025 to 2028, swissuniversities, SNSF, the ETH Board and the academies will with their respective strategic multi-year plans apply for funding via the 2025-2028 Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation. To help strengthen and further develop the Swiss ORD landscape, the bodies mentioned above have set up the ORD Strategy Council
(www.swissuniversities.ch), which serves as a joint coordination body.